Homeschool vs Public Education: A Complete Guide for Parents

Top homeschool statistics

  • Prior to the pandemic around 3.4 percent of the total K-12 school-age population was being homeschooled. By Autumn 2020 this had more than doubled to 9%.
  • Half of parents who weren’t homeschooling before the pandemic view it more favorably now.
  • Over 300 million children worldwide are being homeschooled.
  • Over 90% of homeschoolers studied are glad they were homeschooled.
  • 80% of homeschooled children who were studied said they would homeschool their own children.
  • 78% of peer-reviewed studies on academic achievement show homeschool students perform statistically significantly better than those in institutional schools.
  • Homeschooling is legal in all 50 states.
  • California, North Carolina, and Texas have the highest number of homeschooling students.
  • Vermont, Wyoming, and Connecticut have the lowest number of homeschoolers.
  • Studies have found homeschoolers were far less likely to major in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics-based disciplines.
  • 74% of homeschooling parents cited dissatisfaction with academic instruction in schools as a reason for their choice.
  • 71% of the homeschooled participate in ongoing community service activities compared to 37% of the general population.
  • The greatest number and percentage of European homeschoolers reside in the UK.
  • Half of parents who weren’t homeschooling in February 2020 viewed it more favorably in June. (Shaw, 2020)
  • A quarter of parents who weren’t homeschooling in February 2020 viewed it less favorably in June. (Shaw, 2020)
  • 53% of Black parents had a more favorable view of homeschooling following the pandemic. (Shaw, 2020)
  • Prior to the pandemic around 3.4 percent of the total K-12 school-age population was being homeschooled. By Autumn 2020 this had more than doubled to 9%. (Education Week, 2020)
  • The National Home School Association received over 3,400 requests for information on a single day in July 2020, up from 5-20 inquiries per day before coronavirus. (MPR News)
  • In Massachusetts,7,188 students statewide transferred from public schools into homeschooling in 2020, compared to 802 transfers last year. (Shaw, 2020)
  • In North Carolina, homeschooling filings nearly tripled and crashed the state’s non public education website. (Shaw, 2020)
  • Enrollment in public schools is down for the first time in 15 years in Nebraska due to the pandemic. (Education Week, 2020)
  • In Wisconsin the number of parents filing to homeschool their children increased threefold due to the pandemic. (Education Week, 2020)
  • Over 300 million children worldwide are suddenly being homeschooled. (Forbes, 2020)
  • In the UK between May-June 2020, 87% of parents said a child in their household had been homeschooled because of the coronavirus pandemic. (ONS, 2020)
  • Over half (52%) of parents said a child in their household was struggling to continue their education while at home, with 77% giving lack of motivation as one of the reasons. (ONS, 2020)
  • When schools closed in the UK and remote learning was initiated, 28% of children aged 13 and over said they got no help from parents and 43.1% had an hour or less. (Children’s Commissioner, 2020)

Homeschool vs Public School: A Toe-to-toe Comparison

Why is homeschool better than public school?

A mother homeschooling her daughter

The most obvious benefit of homeschool vs public education is custom-tailoring. Parents or tutors have the liberty to suit the lessons to the kid’s learning pace. This increases the mastery and grasp of lessons than in a competitive public school environment.

Homeschooling allows busy parents to be flexible in their schedules. This is one advantage of homeschool vs public education. It accommodates the availability of both students and parents which can help optimize the learning.

The incidence of bullying is at an all-time high at 20.2% or 1 out of 5 students are bullied. That said, keeping children safe is one benefit of homeschooling. Plus, the mere fact that the home serves as the school saves time and travel expenses.

The difference between homeschool vs public education is that parents can emphasize certain topics or perspectives in the curriculum. This is especially important for religious or cultural affairs that schools don’t discuss.

It would be a lie to leave out bonding as an advantage of homeschool vs public education. Aside from the learning, strengthening the familial relationship is rewarding in homeschooling.

Parents control the pace and progress of learning. This helps develop the adeptness of children on subject matters. The focus shifts from towards how much is learned, not how high the grade is.

Learning is not just about manuals. With homeschooling, you can extend the learning to other non-conventional outlets like STEM toys. These toys are not only fun to play with but can cultivate children’s affinity and learning in science. Our handy and durable portable microscope may help in this regard if needed.

Disadvantages of Homeschool vs Public Education

Peer interaction in homeschooled children vs public schooled is lower. Inability to socialize with other kids may pose socialization problems if not addressed. Homeschoolers need extracurricular activities to meet that demand.

If parents are not invested and committed to homeschooling, the venture might fail. Parents need to assure that kids are following the schedule, and have a good grasp of the lessons. Discipline is key, and it’s your job to enforce it.

One reason why public school is better than homeschool is that they have access to equipment. This includes a library, computer laboratory, art studio which are all essential for learning.

Recognizing a student’s capacity, especially in a competitive environment encourages better learning. For example, the recognition of top-performing students motivates others to perform just as well in class. Without such, a decline in interest and motivation might occur. Another difference between homeschool vs public education.

Some believe that homeschooling saves costs from tuition fees and other expenses. But the truth is, sometimes focusing on the child can put the family’s goals and ambitions on hold. Which has a more long-term effect on finances.

Why Public School is Better Than Homeschool?

A public school teacher reading to a group of children

This is arguably one of the biggest reasons why public school is better than homeschool. Exposure to people from different backgrounds and cultures aid in developing social skills. These interaction skills will serve kids well especially in a professional environment.

Children are routinary creatures and they thrive best in systems with a clear pattern. The school is structured for that purpose, unlike homeschool that needs recalibration every now and then.

Options like sports or music where kids can join are available in public schools. Although kids can perform the same in homeschool, it is not as rewarding. Performing for school representation than for personal reasons is a liberating exposure for children.

To some degree, home schooled children vs public schooled ones are more sheltered. Public schools train students to become independent by being responsible for their class schedules, behaviors in class, and grades.

Public schools do not ask for tuition fees aside perhaps from the miscellaneous ones. School supplies are typically cheap. Public school parents may also focus on their careers since they don’t have to dedicate their time to teach kids. This increases their purchasing power while diminishing the education-related expenses.

Cons of Public Education vs Homeschool

The majority of reasons why parents choose homeschooling is to protect kids from a negative environment. Bullying affects not only a person’s education but even their social, mental, and physical health.

School Education vs Home Education Structure

Aside from the abstract differences, benefits, and drawbacks of each learning setup, there are also tangible variations that must be considered like the learning curriculum and physical environment.


How and what your children learn is a significant determinant in the homeschool vs public education comparison. You can observe a clear distinction between the two philosophies, but one approach may suit your child better than the other.

At the very least, both homeschool and public school cater to the rudimentary concepts kids must learn. Learning how to read, write, solve equations are fundamental. The difference arises once it goes beyond the common foundational understanding.

Generally, parents who homeschool their children decide what curriculum to follow. This may be influenced by the parents or by the kids’ natural curiosities/interests. Sometimes, religion is the principal reason for the matter.

On the other hand, the curriculum in public schools follows state standards. Schools expose children to pre-determined lesson plans. The primary goal is to surpass those state criteria. Public schools focus more on teaching children a plethora of ideas to cultivate a broader interest reach.


Public schools, on the other hand, are heavy on peer interactions. Some can even be negative. Being around a diverse collection of kids can pressure them to abide by the popular clique. Worse, forced to fit in with the “right” clothes from the “right” store.

Although the classroom chaos is arguably an integral aspect that develops a child. Public school also promotes social relationships and collaborations to thrive. These are team-playing skills valued in the professional environment. Just watch out for cases of bullying which destroy the rapport of public schools.

Homeschool is perfect for children who need to escape from the negative public school environment. Those who just want to “be” without being forced to become something they’re not. With proper handling, homeschool can offer higher quality education. While for kids that struggle in classes that need more time to cope, homeschool is a good option.

Public schools are best if you want diversified and competitive exposure for your child. If they thrive in social interactions and carry themselves well then public school is a viable choice. The competition develops their competitive nature. It allows them to power through their peers and perform the best they could. Learning how to collaborate early on, as observed in public schools, helps in the “real world”.

COVID-19 and UK Homeschooling in 2021

16. 90% of British parents homeschool at the beginning of 2021.

Homeschooling statistics 2021 data collected in January and February shows that nine in ten parents had to homeschool their children due to the pandemic during this period.

17. Women report considerably more homeschooling in 2021 than men.

At the beginning of 2021 , around 52% of men in the UK said they were personally homeschooling their children. With women, that percentage is 15% higher, as approximately 67% of women report homeschooling in January and February 2021 .

18. Half of parents say homeschooling had a negative impact on their wellbeing.

Such a change represents a significant rise from 28% in April 2020 , which suggests the situation might have more to do with the overall psychological exhaustion of living through the pandemic year than homeschooling itself.

Up to 63% of parents said lockdown homeschooling is negatively affecting their children, too. According to homeschooling statistics for 2020, in April of that year, only 43% believed that was the case.

19. In 2021, 14% fewer parents report children struggling to homeschool compared to 2020.

In May 2020 , 52% of British parents reported their children were ‘struggling to continue their education at home’. According to homeschooling statistics for the UK in 2021 , in January, the number dropped to 38% .

One of the concerning homeschooling uk facts is that up to 65% of students aged 16 to 18 reported being worried that lockdown homeschooling will harm their academic and life plans.

20. Lack of motivation is the most common cause of homeschooling struggles for 75% of children in 2021.

Parents say there are a few key reasons British children struggle with homeschooling in 2021 ; those are lack of motivation, lack of time a parent has to support homeschooling, and access to the right resources.

21. 47% of employed parents report their job is negatively affected by homeschooling.

Many parents were suddenly faced with both working from home and home schooling during COVID . And when those two new realities collided, relationships and jobs started to suffer.

22. 69% of children in the UK had live online lessons in January 2021.

In May 2020, only 25% of students had real-time lessons online, which shows schools started the year better prepared. Some 22% of parents report children using books their parents found, 11% less than in May 2020 .

23. Some local authorities in the UK report a 200% rise in home education registrations.

According to data from October 2020 , home education registrations have reached unexpected heights. Many parents are taking matters into their own hands, losing trust in the educational system’s ability to prove it’s safe and efficient.

A recent pilot study by Ofsted, conducted in 130 schools , found that approximately 33% of them had ‘unusually high numbers’ of students taken off the register at the beginning of the year.


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